Join us on November 7
We made history in 2018, electing Mike Schreiner.
At the halfway point to the next election, now is when we ramp up our efforts to elect more Greens at Queen’s Park in 2022.
Whether you’re a long-time member or just thinking about voting Green, there is something for you at the GPO convention!
On November 7, 2020.
From 10am-5pm with a scheduled break.
Online, via Zoom.
Information on how to join will be provided later.
In 2019, members voted to make the policy statement process even easier for you to get involved.
Ways to get involved
There are many ways you can participate in our 2020 convention.
All our GPO members have an opportunity to:
- share their ideas
- give meaningful feedback on submitted policies
- help choose which Policy Statements matter most
- discuss, learn and vote at the 2020 GPO Convention
Dates and deadlines
- PE voting opens: October 7th
- Last day to become a member to vote: October 21st
- PE voting closes and registration deadline: November 4th, 5 pm EST
We will be having our regular updates from our President, CFO, and our leader Mike Schreiner as well as a plenary session.
Full agenda details coming soon!
Due to COVID-19, we will be hosting our Convention entirely online. We will be using Zoom which will allow members to join on a desktop, mobile device, or by calling in.
We will host a practice session so that everyone can ensure their tech is working and ask any questions before the event. Stay tuned for information on the practice session.
GPO Equity Guide
This guide has been developed as a resource for party members, event organizers, and appointed Equity Officers for the implementation of basic equity principles. The guide is meant to inform members on expected behaviour and rules for discourse at meetings. Section 3 outlines Bylaw M – GPO Code of Conduct, which outlines expectations for behaviour at all party functions. Please use this guide as a reference on the philosophies surrounding equity, a reminder of why equity is critical, as well as a reference for potential solutions to common situations. Please note that this full document is meant to supplement the GPO Code of Conduct Bylaw (section 3). The by-law should be read in its entirety for a full understanding of relevant procedures. A sample equity policy for non-centrally planned functions has also been added as an appendix for ease in operationalization of equity.
The purpose of an equity policy is to ensure that everyone involved in a party affiliated meeting or event feels encouraged to participate fully, and to discourage any attendee from acting in a way that makes others feel uncomfortable. The event organizers have the ability to both set an example and maintain decorum through exercising the code of conduct bylaw if necessary.
Section 1: Purpose of an Equity Policy
At a reasonable time before each meeting of more than 20 people, an equity policy is to be made available electronically or in hard copy to attendees by either a Meeting Organizer or an appointed Equity Officer (EO). Best practices would suggest that the policy be made available the week prior to the meeting to provide sufficient notice.
The purpose of equity policy is to inform Meeting attendees on process should they feel that they have experienced discrimination, harassment, intimidation, or any other incident that corresponds to prohibited conduct pursuant to the GPO Code of Conduct.
The posting of an equity policy demonstrates that the organizers are taking the issue of equity seriously and have a process to handle potential incidents. The equity policy and equity officer(s) should be introduced at the beginning of a meeting to ensure awareness of the standard for behaviour and the process to follow should a breach of standards occur. The equity policy and its proper implementation function to create and maintain an environment which is viewed as safe and caring.
Section 2: Equity Officer Duties
The EO is appointed by the meeting organizer(s). It is generally a good idea to have two of different genders. EOs must respect the need for confidentiality given that they are dealing with sensitive and personal information. Information on any incidents that occur must be kept confidential both during and after the meeting. An EO should only involve people in the discussion who need to be involved in the resolution.
The basic duties of the appointed EO(s) are as follows:
- To write and publish an Equity Policy prior to meeting (a pre-existing policy can be modified such as the one provided in the Appendix);
- To ensure introduction of EO and the policy at the beginning of the meeting and remain visible throughout the duration of the meeting;
- To arrange for a replacement who must be introduced to attendees should the EO be unable to attend a portion of the meeting;
- To maintain a method to receive complaints during or after the meeting (i.e. a physical box and/or email address)
Reporting to the GPO
EOs should give a brief update immediately after the meeting to the GPO Ombuds Committee. This report should address:
- Any equity complaints at the meeting
- How the complaints were addressed and resolved
- If there are any further steps that must be taken to fully resolve complaint
- Potential strategies to minimize likelihood for similar complaint in the future
It is not required for the EO to give details on who was involved in the complaints if there is a mutual agreement to keep identities of those involved anonymous. Names provided to the GPO will be kept confidential and will only be used to track behaviour and provide a record in the event of future issues.
The EO should represent their role through behaviour that exemplifies the purpose of equity. Equity complaints can happen at any time, and anywhere. For this reason, the Equity Officer should never be in a state in which they cannot fulfill the role responsibly.
An EO should be careful to remain objective during the process of complaint resolution. Whether or not they personally agree with the complainant’s perspective, it is their duty to carry out an investigation, by talking to all parties involved in a confidential manner and objectively resolving the matter. In the event that the EO is personally impacted by the complaint, they should defer authority to another EO, or a meeting organizer to address the issue.
Limits on Equity Officer Authority
The EO(s) and organizers have significant authority to maintain a positive environment. Officers should recognize the importance their position and be careful to act within reasonable limits, as would be seen to be reasonable by an average participant.
Various remedies are available for the EO, depending on the severity of the situation.
These may include, but are not limited to:
- Explaining why behaviour has resulted in the complaint and asking the person to alter behaviour
- Mediating a discussion between those involved
- Providing a warning of future discipline if behaviour continues
- Banning the defendant from affiliated social events or the rest of the meeting if severity warrants
- Any other remedy that is specific to the situation, which the parties involved feel is appropriate
Section 3: Bylaw M – GPO Code of Conduct
(1.0). The purpose of this Bylaw is to ensure all participants at party affiliated functions have an opportunity to participate fully without being hindered in or prevented from doing so by any Ontario Human Rights Commission (OHRC) prohibited grounds for discrimination, and to be free from harassment and intimidation.
(1.1) OHRC prohibited grounds for discrimination are citizenship, race, place of origin, ethnic origin, colour, ancestry, disability, age, creed, sex / pregnancy, gender identity, gender expression, family status, marital status, sexual orientation, receipt of public assistance, and record of offence.
Prohibited grounds of discrimination or harassment
(2.0). All participants at a party affiliated function will not engage in any behaviour that will undermine or attack the goals and purposes of the GPO including, but not limited to:
- use offensive language or behaviour;
- make denigrating comments on the basis of OHRC prohibited grounds;
- harass, threaten, assault or intimidate other participants; or
- damage or destroy any property that does not belong to them.
Complaints and equity officer
(3.0). All centrally organized GPO events or meetings with more than 20 people in attendance, shall appoint an Equity Officer (EO) to investigate any complaints, including those under Bylaw M, Section 2.0.
(3.1). The meeting organizer(s) shall outline the procedure for investigating and resolving complaints made to the EO prior to the meeting.
(3.2). All procedures for investigating and resolving complaints must include the following:
- a process for the making of anonymous complaints;
- a process for the accused persons or persons to make a written statement responding to any allegation made against them;
- a process for determining whether any provision within Section 2 has been violated;
- a process for determining the appropriate resolution in the event of a violation of Section 2;
- a process for informing all affected parties; and
- a process for determining whether the complaint should be reviewed further by the GPO.
(3.3). The procedure for investigating and resolving complaints must be publicized prior to the event
(3.4). The GPO shall provide assistance for the investigation and resolution of complaints.
(3.5). The duties of the EO(s) include, but are not limited to:
- being visible and available for the duration of the meeting, including attendance at affiliated social events;
- acting in a responsible manner and being prepared to deal with any eventuality at all times;
- investigating all complaints; and
- issuing a report to the Ombuds Committee if required following the event.
Procedure for review on request of the complaints and equity officer
(4.0). A GPO member, having had their complaint investigated, may request that the complaint be reviewed by the GPO Ombuds Committee.
(4.1). All requests for review by the GPO Ombuds Committee must include a written report detailing the investigation by the Complaints and Equity Officer.
(4.2). The GPO Ombuds Committee may make recommendations to be sent to the PE based on the evidence reviewed in accordance to the process outlined in Bylaw K: Membership
(5.0). Harassment is a form of discrimination. It involves any unwanted physical or verbal behaviour that offends or humiliates you. Generally, harassment is a behaviour that persists over time. Serious one-time incidents can also sometimes be considered harassment.
(5.1). Participant is defined as any person in attendance for any portion of an affiliated event.
Appendix: Sample Equity Policy
This Equity & Complaints Policy for [Meeting title] is made pursuant to Bylaw M – GPO Code of Conduct. The equity officer(s) for this meeting will be [name(s)].
- An email address will be provided at [email address] for individuals to make anonymous complaints.
- The Equity Officer (EO) will investigate all complaints received. An EO may, at their discretion, refuse to pursue a more detailed investigation of a matter if, in the equity officer’s opinion:
- the subject matter of the complaint is trivial and/or not envisioned in Section 2.0 of Bylaw M;
- the complaint is frivolous or vexatious or is not made in good faith;
- under existing administrative practice there is an adequate remedy for the complainant.
- If the EO has decided to investigate an issue:
- the subject(s) of the complaint will be notified as soon as possible.
- the subject(s) of the complaint, at the equity officer’s discretion, will be afforded to make a written or oral statement responding to the allegation against them.
- The EO will determine whether Bylaw M, Section 2.0 has been violated.
- In the event of a violation, the equity officers will devise an appropriate resolution with [NAME OF MEETING ORGANIZER]. This may include, but is not limited to:
- a warning;
- a mediated discussion between involved parties;
- expulsion from the meeting social events;
- removal from the meeting.
- In any case where the EO decides not to investigate or further investigate a complaint, they shall inform the complainant of that decision.
- Upon the completion of an investigation, an EO shall inform the complainant and the accused person or persons of their full decision.
- Every investigation by the EO under this policy shall be conducted in private.
- The EO will be in attendance at official affiliated social events until a time that is reasonable.
- The EO will provide a report to the GPO Ombuds Committee immediately following the conclusion of the meeting.
Nomination deadline is Oct 10th
Email email@example.com to make a nomination.
The Lois James Legacy Award recognizes volunteers who have demonstrated exceptional service and commitment building the Green Party of Ontario (GPO). Lois was a decades-long volunteer with the GPO, and was an integral part of the creation of the Rouge National Park.
The Community Involvement Award recognizes volunteers with a proven track record of engaging citizens in the promotion of Green values such as building strong communities, fostering local economies and promoting health & well-being in Ontario.
The Rising Star Award will recognize a newcomer (3 years or less) to the GPO who has shown enthusiasm and ability in volunteering for their Constituency Association (CA), a campus group, or the GPO office and have demonstrated a positive, motivating spirit.
Plenary and Resolution
What is plenary?
Plenary is the part of the convention that is attended by all participants (as opposed to the other breakout sessions throughout the weekend). In the GPO, we use the term plenary to refer to the parts of our convention where we consider and vote on constitutional, policy and directive resolutions.
What are resolutions?
During the conference, we will consider 3 types of resolutions that set a particular direction for the GPO:
- Policy resolutions that set a position for the GPO on a specific issue,
- Constitutional resolutions that modify our constitution, and
- Directive resolutions that request a particular course of action for operations of the party.
What order will we review resolutions?
We’ll look at policy, constitutional and directive resolutions, in that order.
The resolutions will be ranked by convention delegates prior to the Policy Workshops that we are holding on Saturday morning. If you have yet to rank your policy selections online, please visit the registration desk and rank your selections on Friday evening.
We will discuss the top ranked policies during the Policy Workshops on Saturday morning before voting at Plenary on Sunday.
When do we vote?
We will vote on resolutions during Plenary.
How do we vote?
We use a voting method called the Bonser Method to consider resolutions. For our general convention process, or where the Bonser Method is silent, we use Robert’s Rules of Order.
Here is a brief introduction to the Bonser Method of voting. More information is available in the Bylaw F of the GPO constitution. If there is a discrepancy between these instructions and the bylaw, the bylaw is the authority.
The sponsor of the resolutions or a designate presents the resolution and explains its merits for a maximum of 2 minutes.
- Questions of clarification
Delegates (that’s you!) can ask up to a total of 3 short questions of clarification of 30 seconds maximum (3 total per resolution, not per delegate). This is not a presentation of arguments for or against the resolution, rather an explanation of a point that may not be clear.
At this point, only minor wording changes (‘friendly amendments’) that clarify the resolution in response to the questions asked shall be allowed – no opinions, amendments, or speaking to the content of the resolution.
Delegates can next speak in favour or in opposition to a resolution: up to 2 people with supporting arguments, and 2 people with opposing arguments. Maximum 30 seconds per person.
Two microphones will be set up on the plenary floor for this purpose (a “pro” mic and a “con” mic). If there are more than 2 people at a mic, it’s good to consult with each other to ensure the best arguments are put forward. The plenary chairs may extend the debate for up to 5 minutes.
Once debate has been closed, the chairs will then move to a vote. To vote for the motion, show your voting card:
- Green to support the resolution.
- Red to oppose the resolution.
- Yellow to send the resolution to workshop. This means that you could support the motion, given changes that would be suggested during a break out workshop.
Note: some delegates may carry proxy votes on behalf of members who aren’t able to be present at the meeting.
The motion passes if more than 60% of the votes cast are green, and is defeated if more than 60% of the votes cast are red. Any other outcome means the resolution will be sent to a workshop session for possible amendment.
You do not have to vote on every resolution.
At an appropriate time in the agenda, generally after 3 resolutions are voted to go to workshop, the chair calls a breakout workshop session. In each workshop, a resolution is discussed and amended, and recommendations to the assembly may also be prepared.
You can choose whichever workshop is of most interest to you.
At the workshop, the resolution is debated in more detail, and amendments are proposed to address any concerns raised. Final wording of the resolution is brought back to the plenary for a final vote.
- Final Vote
At the close of the workshops, plenary resumes and the updated resolution is provided for consideration. The workshop leader is given time to explain the reasons behind the changes (if any). 3 questions of clarification are permitted. Friendly amendments (wording changes that don’t affect the meaning of the resolution) are allowed, but there is no further debate on the resolution.
A second vote on the resolution is held. In this final vote, only votes in favour (green) or opposed (red) are permitted. If 60% of the cards displayed are green, the resolution passes. The resolution is defeated with any other outcome.
Guidelines for Plenary
It is extremely important to attend plenary sessions on time: each year, several resolutions are not considered because time runs out. You can help ensure that we get through all resolutions submitted this year by arriving to plenary on time.
We use rules of order to make sure our convention runs smoothly, fairly, and on time. With cooperation and agreement from delegates in plenary, we may from time to time turn from formal process to achieve these objectives. We look forward to your active participation. We also ask that you remember to be respectful of others at all times. Participatory democracy always demands polite discourse.
Terms you may hear (or use!) during Plenary
Please remember to direct your questions or points to the plenary chair(s).
- Point of Privilege: Used if a delegate has an issue relating to noise, personal comfort (ie it’s too hot!) etc. Please interrupt proceedings only if necessary!
- Point of Information: Generally, applies to information desired from the speaker: “I should like to ask the (speaker) a question.”
- Point of Order: Raises an issue relating to an infraction of the rules, or improper decorum in speaking. Must be raised immediately after the error is made.
- Main Motion: Brings new business (the next item on the agenda) before the assembly.
- Divide the Question: Divides a motion into two or more separate motions (must be able to stand on their own).
- Amend: Inserting or striking out words or paragraphs, or substituting whole paragraphs or resolutions.
- Withdraw/Modify Motion: Applies only after question is stated; mover can accept an amendment without obtaining the floor.
- Extend Debate: Applies only to the immediately pending question; extends until a certain time or for a certain period of time.
- Limit Debate: Closing debate at a certain time, or limiting to a certain period of time. A member may do this by ‘calling the question’.
Provincial Executive Elections
Every year the party holds internal elections for our governing Provincial Executive (PE). The PE is responsible for the governance of the Green Party of Ontario, similar to a board of directors, and sets the strategic goals, annual plan and budget for the party.
The successful candidates will be announced during the 2020 Virtual Convention on November 7th.